Skip to comments.Cell Phone Tracking Question (vanity)
Posted on 08/29/2011 1:56:47 PM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
I am reading a very interesting book on surveillance (Surveillance or Security? - The risks posed by new wiretapping technologies by Susan Landau). In it the author makes a passing comment that cell phone locations (proximity to a tower) can be tracked even with the phone turned off. The implication is that turning the phone off only turns off the user interface, not the periodic pings. Removing the battery will turn this off.
I have seen some statements that this is correct and others that say it's not but nothing (in a quick search) that's definitive.
Does anyone have an authoritative source with an answer?
“even with the phone turned off”
If that is the case, I’m guessing that the battery would die out if it stayed off for very long so I seriously doubt it. Many hikers only turn their phone on periodically to save the battery.
When my cellphone is off but the battery is in and it’s near a radio that’s on or near my laptop and the sound is on I hear four or five beeps every so often.
That is correct.
Years ago a friend of mine had problems with his phone. While talking to tech support they asked him to turn the phone off to apply an update.
He said, “Do you need me to turn it back on?”
Unless you pull the battery you can be logged. All part of the E911 law to make us safer, ya’know.
It depends upon how you define ‘Off’.
If you are completely ‘Off’; your phone has to re-register and find towers, effectively re-boot and re-initialize. Typically, when a phone is turned ‘off’ it’s really set to a sleep mode. So, when you drive, the phone isn’t really burning a whole lot of power; but it is picking up new cell towers and dropping other cell towers as they move out of range.
If you want total radio silence; you have to remove the battery - or turn the phone completely OFF - such that it has to reboot when you re-power it on again.
And once the biometric patch tattoo thingie is worked out, you won't even be able to take the battery out.
It’s my understanding that the phone cannot be tracked if the battery is removed. But......they could place a very small battery in the phone, on the circuit board that couldn’t be removed. Believe me, if they want to track you via this device or any other, like GPS or computers in your car, they can.
That's either to remind you to drop another raisin in the Gin or synch up your beeber, depending on your status at the time.
Could this be prevented by placing the phone into an all metal container?
None of this will matter when you get your own personal “chip.”
You can prevent being tracked if you can restrict the phone’s antenna from sending and receiving signals. I have been told that you can buy “antistat” bags like those used to protect PCBs from ESD damage and put your phone in it to prevent being “followed.” It will take the phone some small period of time to find a cell tower though when you take it out to use.
Maybe you can check with some fancy RF equipment, or even a radio which the cell phone interferes with when checking in. I know some GSM phones can make speakers buzz when they are very close and are checking into the tower.
Yes, then fill the container with water or other suitable liquid.
In the movie Spartan, Val Kilmer’s character actually did specifically take out the battery from the cellphone...twice in the movie. The movie/script was based on the founder of Delta Force so there might be truth to it.
I assure you that will never happen. Although I am given to a half pint of Mint Chip on occasion.
Apparently you can.
If you don’t want your phone to be used as a tracking AND listening device, remove the battery.
I guess I’ll have to put my phone inside my tinfoil hat.
Nope. I just tried it and it didn't work. The phone company still found me... well, my phone rang when I dialed it from a land line. At most it will weaken the signal so the phone will just turn up the power on its transmission to get through.
Antistat bags have a highly resistive coating that works as a static protection guard but it’s useless as a RF shield. You need metal or a dense metal mesh.
So how do you take the battery out of IPHONE.
The specific line in the book is:
“Users broadcast their location whenever their phone is turned on - and the phones can be manipulated to do such broadcasting even when the phone is off.”
A key word is “manipulated” which I would take could mean a possible default setting in the phone, a command signal from the service provider, etc.
The author has a strong engineering, cybersecurity and public policy background so I don’t dismiss the comment although there was no footnote associated with the statement.
Have you tried a hammer?
I always keep a few of those cellophane-foil potato chip bags with me and toss my phone in there when I’m not using it.
So how do you take the battery out of IPHONE
1 throw it hard against a wall
2 Lay it on the floor and stomp the crap out of it or until the battery falls out.
You could drop that sucker in a mini-potato chip bag (those thing METAL types) and be fine, I think.
Here’s an experiment that will convince you of the value of a Farraday Cage:
Put phone A in a microwave, door open. Call the phone, observe ring.
Close the door of the OFF microwave:
Call the phone. It does not ring.
Those are the effects of a (small) Farraday Cage.
Use throwaways from WalMart and your concerns about being tracked are over.
Just make sure you really do throw them away every so often.
If you keep it in a bucket of water you will not be tracked.
“Believe me, if they want to track you via this device or any other, like GPS or computers in your car, they can.”
That’s why I always keep two cell phones registered in my name: one on my person, the other tied to a balloon which randomly floats around the neighborhood.
I guess its design this way to sell another phone. Battery not replaceable and loses 20% capacity every year. Wow what genius marketing ploy. NOT.
“Use throwaways from WalMart and your concerns about being tracked are over.”
They did this on “The Wire,” I believe, in which case the cops sold dummied-up throwaways, with a wiretap all ready to go, directly to the drug dealers.
Hammer to 500.00 phone? LOL Steve Jobs is probably the ONLY person on this planet able to convince buyers to spend 500.00 and 100.00 a month for 2 year contract with a product useful life of 3 years.
I dunno that I’d trust that, but I’m sure some freeper has one sitting around that came off a replacement hard drive or video card or whatnot...any self respecting geek has half a dozen nice ones they’ve kept from various upgrades.
Don’t know how much of this should be public info. My friend works for the Secret Service, and according to him the phone must be on before it can be tracked.
I have found that tinfoil has many uses like duct tape in solving everyday problems like yours. Just wrap your cellphone in several layers of tinfoil and they won't be able to track you, really! Trust me. ;-)
I'm an electronics engineer, and I have a spectrum analyzer (measures transmit power, even short pulses). By making a call, I established the frequency range and power that it operated on. I also established a controlled radio environment where no signals except the cell phone's would register on the analyzer. Then, I turned off the cell phone and continued monitoring it.
No transmission for a half hour now.
As soon as I turned it back on, it started transmitting again.
They can't track ya if ya don't transmit.
Or if they can't hear ya -- y'all with the Faraday Cage ideas are on the right track. Just wrap it in good ol' aluminum foil.
an article came out in 2006 that the FBI could use cell phones even phones that were turned off as a wiretap
you can track any cell phone at http://www.gpsspying.com/
By "controlled environment" - would your phone have been able to receive a ping from the tower? Closely reading the statement in the book, it (sort of) implies that the phone may have to be commanded to transmit when switched off.
Ha! There’s so many raisin’s in there it made its own prison pruno (don’t ask me how I know).
If you want to finesse it, put a screwdriver on one edge and then smash the screwdriver with a hammer.
Let them track you...it keeps them busy not tracking the rest of us.
Well, when in doubt -— I sent an email to the book’s author.
You need more than that - you need a cage made of mu-metal because the EM signal has a magnetic component which also needs to be blocked, in addition to the electrical component.
If you really have it fully wrapped in conductive foil so that you have a true Faraday cage (i.e., an electrostatic shield), the currents induced on the inner surface of that shield by the magnetic field cancel it out.
Hold My Beer, while I give it a try.
So, lets say you secretly went to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings on Thursdays, and you pulled the battery out almost every Thursday when you did. If three weeks out of four there is no data for 2 hours, and one week out of four there is data showing you at a given point for those 2 hours, well, the phone company can put 2 and 2 together and figure out where you probably are.
Tracking isn't just immediate. It's logged. So, wherever your phone has been while it's on leaves a record.
I did get a reply from the book’s author. “Manipulated” means that software has to be installed to make the phone beacon when switched off. This is intrusive and requires a wiretap warrant to be legal.